Former Vancouver Whitecaps players have expressed support for Major League Soccer’s investigation into how the club handled allegations of abuse, and also called for the results to be made public.
The Professional Footballers Association Canada released a statement on behalf of the players on Monday, praising MLS for seeking a “very credible” company to lead the investigation, while claiming that the athletes concerned needed to influence the scope and mandate.
“It is not clear that the MLS investigation and the Canada Soccer review will do anything to ensure the safety and well-being of athletes in the system going forward, which is of utmost importance and motivation to us,” the statement read.
“Nor do these processes address the collective trauma we’ve experienced at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Canada Soccer, through their silence for over a decade.”
The American League hired Janice Rubin and Melody Jahanzadeh from Rubin Thomlinson LLP to conduct the independent review of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Several players who were part of the team from 2008 to 2011 came forward to report several allegations of misconduct against former coaches Bob Birarda and Hubert Busby Jr.
Busby has been accused of pressuring a former player for six in 2011 when he served as head coach of Whitecap’s women’s team. These allegations have not been reviewed in court.
Birarda, on the other hand, has been charged with six counts of sexual exploitation, two counts of sexual assault and one count of child molestation. He served as a former coach for both Whitecap’s women’s team and the Canadian women’s team for 20 years.
Whitecap’s CEO Axel Schuster told The Canadian Press that he fully supports the inquiries and will “do whatever is necessary” to support the investigation.